Canadian Musician - March-April 2022 - Page 30

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By Duane “ D . O .” Gibson

How to Stay Driven In 2022

If you are a hip-hop fan , you will likely be able to finish the lyric : “ Allow me to reintroduce myself …” The classic Jay-Z lyric concludes with Jay rapping , “ My name is Hov ! H to the O-V ,” a nod to one of his many aliases .

Regardless of genre , musicians are no stranger to reinvention , especially when dealing with a worldwide pandemic over the last couple of years . I ’ ve been a full-time artist for nearly 19 years , looking up to hip-hop heroes that have had longevity , such as Jay-Z , Diddy , and Maestro Fresh Wes . One thing they have in common is that they have continued to reinvent themselves .
Stay Driven is the name of my motivational speaking company , but it also applies to how we as musicians must not only persevere but thrive , even during these difficult times .
I don ’ t need to remind you of cancelled tours and the uncertainty of when live performances will resume uninterrupted ; so instead , I want to suggest five tips that I ’ ve found helpful during these last two years that have helped me continue to earn a living as an artist .
1 . Dig deep into grant-writing Grants are one of the best resources for artists , especially in Canada . I ’ ve written over 500 successful grants for myself and other artists — but I never take it for granted ( pun intended ). Despite this success , I ’ m always learning . Take the time to research grant organizations to see what programs they offer . Spend the time reading the program guidelines – even if you have applied to the grant in the past . These programs often change from year to year , and you want to ensure that you are up to date .
Don ’ t let past attempts prevent you from reapplying ! Juries will often change . Apply to be a juror yourself so that you can learn what makes a successful application . Now that you aren ’ t on the road , you have the extra time to send questions to the organization weeks or months before the application deadline .
Also , remember that each organization is different . In some applications , you will want to showcase your business plans , while in others , you want to share your personal story and explain why you make music .
2 . Learn a new instrument As a kid , I played the piano for a couple of years when my parents encouraged forced me to learn a musical instrument . Recently I purchased a keyboard and subscribed to Yousician , an online teaching program . I love it . Rediscovering the piano has led to more appreciation and heightening of my musical sense . While I ’ m a long way from mastering the keys , I look forward to shooting Instagram videos of playing and rapping simultaneously .
So , challenge yourself by picking up a new instrument . You might find a hidden talent .
3 . Put the focus on your health Musicians tend to have a love / hate relationship with touring . We love performing but hate the long drives and struggle to eat healthily . Use this time off the road to focus on your physical health – clean eating and working out will get you in great shape when it ’ s time for a new photoshoot or hitting the road . Don ’ t neglect your mental health either . Find time to meditate , read , and journal . You ’ ll be amazed at how much it will impact your creativity .
4 . Plan for your next tour It ’ s easy to get in the rut of thinking that you will never be hitting the road again , so planning for your next tour , performance , or business trip to a conference is essential . Don ’ t just think about it – do the work . Create a vision board of where you want to tour in the next few years : research flights and hotels in these locations . Create budgets to be prepared for when you get the green light to hit the road .
5 . Fuse your skills and create multiple income streams Fusing your skills isn ’ t just a way to generate multiple streams of income , it can be great for getting more publicity as an artist . It ’ s not 2002 ; simply having a new album or release party will not move the radar for getting press . But , if you have a cool out-of-the-box idea , it stands a greater chance of sticking out . I ’ ve always enjoyed writing , and I have an English degree , so I wrote a book about life lessons learned from the music business during the pandemic . I ’ ve always enjoyed public speaking , and I combined hip-hop with an inspirational message to create Stay Driven — 2,500 schools later , I ’ m busier than ever now that the program has shifted virtually . These ventures have led to me receiving more mainstream press than I ever had for my music . While the angle wasn ’ t music-based , the response from new fans showed me that this was successful .
I ’ ve seen a lot of artists fuse their skills to find success — from hip-hop chefs sharing their dishes on Instagram to musicians combining their workouts with the music .
Put these five tips to use and step into a postpandemic world like a rap star .
Duane “ D . O .” Gibson is a Guinness World Recordsetting Canadian rapper , record label executive , author , and motivational speaker . He is the cofounder of the Northern Power Summit music conference and has brought his Black Canadian 365 tour to hundreds of schools and thousands of students across Canada . www . iamdogibson . com .
PHOTO : MANUEL G . CASADO
30 CANADIAN MUSICIAN